Rush Movie Review
Rush is a movie that shouldn't appeal to American audiences. It stars Formula One cars and European accents. And yet it will, because it's fast, furious, engaging, well acted and gripping. It's also one of Ron Howard's best movies.
The movie stars Thor himself, known to the layman as Chris Hemsworth, as James Hunt, a chiseled playboy/race car driver who wants nothing more than to win the Formula One championship, or whatever it's called. Opposing him at every turn is the meticulous, "rat-faced" Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl, known to the layman as Daniel Brühl). The two would go on to be the rivals of all rivals in the 1976 F1 season.
I am not a racing fan and still debate whether racecar drivers are athletes, but if real-life racing was anything like Rush, I would pay more attention. Probably not, but maybe. Ron Howard has delivered some great movies over the years, but Rush, based on a script by Peter Morgan (The Queen), is his best in years. Slickly directed with a fine balance between drama and action, the movie looks great and rarely skips a beat.
The acting is top notch. Hemsworth is terrific in the lead, even though his character isn't too much of a stretch from Thor (handsome, cocky, always looking for battle). But it's Brühl who steals the show; he manages to take a character that is regarded as an asshole and turn him into a likable, three-dimensional person. It's an impressive feat and Brühl handles it with ease.
Rush's sole weakness is its supporting characters. While the cast, which includes Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino and Olivia Wilde, is fine, the spanning dedication to the two leads means that everyone else falls by the wayside. For the most part it's not a problem, but there are times where it feels like characters were undercut for the sake of pacing.
But pacing is what makes Rush so good. Even when the movie isn't on the track, Rush hurtles along at breakneck speed - thankfully never at the expense of developing Hunt or Lauda. The movie is one of the best films of 2013 so far, but whether it can compete in the Oscar race remains to be seen. At least the European accents don't get in the way.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.